If everything goes according to plan, Apple could be coming out with a new internally designed 5G modem by 2021. This is after reports surfaced that the Cupertino company is set to acquire the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business. Qualcomm, however, is expected to have a presence in 5G iPhones starting in 2020.
Seeing these internally-designed 5G modems possibly coming out as early as two years from now was brought out to the open by a Reuters source. Qualcomm will maintain its presence in 5G iPhones until 2020 with Apple reportedly replacing Qualcomm in phases. A reason behind this is because the Cupertino company will need to make the necessary adjustments such as making the modems compatible and functional with all carriers and countries. Much of this was a result of Apple's purchase of Intel Corp's modem business valued at $1 billion, something that was discussed in detail in a previous post.
"This agreement enables us to focus on developing technology for the 5G network while retaining critical intellectual property and modem technology that our team has created," said Intel CEO Bob Swan said in an official press release from Apple.com.
Speaking of Qualcomm, it could end up being an obstacle by 2025. A reason seen behind this is that some of its chips could still be around by that time and become a potential liability. Apple's increasing use of internal chip designs allows it to optimize power and performance.
Also up in the air is if these modems will be integrated into future iPhones. Such was not specified and Apple's only other cellular-equipped products at the moment are the high-end iPads and Apple Watches. An AR headset and a self-driving car are under development and could benefit from 5G. However, this would depend entirely if it would be needed - meaning it could be an optional component.
Prior to the deal, Apple always relied on outside suppliers to supply parts that would facilitate modem chips to connect devices like its famed iPhones. The script on that has totally changed, especially after Intel become the sole source of iPhone modem chips the past year - ironically about the same time when the Cupertino giant and Qualcomm got into a squabble due to patent licensing. As early as last year, there was word that Apple had wanted to develop its own modem with CEO Tim Cook wanting to take control of its own technological fate - referred to by some as "Cook Doctrine".
This article was first published in IBTimes US. Permission required for reproduction.